Astronomers using NASAs Hubble Space Telescope have discovered three of the faintest and smallest objects ever detected beyond Neptune. Each lump of ice and rock is roughly the size of Philadelphia and orbits just beyond Neptune and Pluto, where they may have rested since the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. The objects reside in a ring-shaped region called the Kuiper Belt, which houses a swarm of icy rocks that are leftover building blocks, or "planetesimals," from the solar systems creation.
The results of the search were announced by a group led by Gary Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania at todays meeting of NASAs Division of Planetary Sciences in Monterey, Calif.
The studys big surprise is that so few Kuiper Belt members were discovered. With Hubbles exquisite resolution, Bernstein and his co-workers expected to find at least 60 Kuiper Belt members as small as 10 miles in diameter -- but only three were discovered.
Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
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Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
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